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The Future of the Republic

We are planning our projects for the year.  Would you like to chime in on what work should be our priority?   Serving baked goods and ice creams in our TC store too?  Getting pies baked in Ann Arbor?  Offering tours and contests in Glen Arbor?  A Cherry Republic in Shanghai or Washington DC?  Sound off in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

What is a good project for Cherry Republic?  It has to be exciting.  We should be pumped up about it before we even start.  That’s the energy that will carry us through to the finish.  And this chance to query our customers before we start-- if they are excited-- that will further motivate us!So, without going too deep into Cherry Republic’s philosophy about projects-- let’s give you a chance to list out some things you’d love to see us do.

Glen Arbor is the spot I find most exciting to do projects and my list is long.  We have the little woods to the south of our Great Hall.  On the list is to create a big wild rock labyrinth in that woods.  We hope to continue the rock wall that will go all around the property and are looking for cool things to work into the wall like cannons and catapults.  I have this fire hydrant that I hope to set right by the wall with a sign on the wall that says “Dog Bathroom Area:  #1 only please.”  And we see a need for more whimsical art, especially the kind that is interactive.  Anything funny and whimsical that you’d like to see us do?  P.S. I have a funny surprise in store for this summer!

There are other things to do.  We need to expand our Great Hall.  One idea is to switch some storage over to a retail nook for an expanded soft goods and logo line of cherry body care products, logo beach towels, bumper stickers, iphone covers.  We also hope to expand the cafe counter and switching out the old signs to something more organized and easy to understand.

And then, there are the fun activities to organize.  Our talent shows and treasure hunts are a big hit.  What if we get even more exotic?  How about family tree climbing?  How about a cherry harvest tour?  This might be the year we hire a person solely focused on creating fun interactions with our customers.  Any thoughts here?


In our Traverse City Embassy, we hope to invest in some major projects.  Starting with moving our bakery production to the back of our space which is presently unused.  We also hope to change the facade and do a full makeover of the present retail area.  We are really in the brainstorming stage so any suggestions of places to check out where dining and shopping are intermingled would be appreciated.  Harrods of London has a great feel.  I like how the Rainforest Cafe has the dining behind the shopping. Tommy Bahama separates dining and shopping in a classy way.  They need to be evenly balanced, but what do you think?

In Ann Arbor, we are looking for projects to get more connected to the community.  We believe that we can be great ambassadors for the wonderful lands and agriculture in northern and lower Michigan.  We are going to focus our donations on helping connect the two important regions.  Like helping kids go to camp up north and grad students doing research up north.  We hope to act like a trade and travel delegation from up north.  And when visitors come in the Ann Arbor store, we want it to feel like a vacation to the woods and lakes and orchards of northern Michigan.  Any thoughts?

I’ve missed writing about Charlevoix and our warehouse and facility changes and web site and Orchard Report additions.  So chime in on any of those potential projects.  Our hope is to continue to be the best we can be without comparing to others-- just being our best and following what gets us excited about Cherry Republic and coming to work.

  • David

    Keep your wine in stock. Open in East Lansing. Give me back my buy-a-case-get-2-free deal.

  • Patti Pedden

    As a Michigan transplant to Colorado, and being a big fan of all things Cherry Republic, I would like to suggest your next project might be locating a store in Boulder, CO! I think it would be a great success! Boulder is such a vibrant college town, very similar to Ann Arbor. I think bringing a bit of Northern Michigan to Boulder in the fashion of your products would be a great addition!

    And, if you do consider such a proposition, I would like to be the first person in line to manage your store!

    Thanks for listening and thanks for making such wonderful treats!
    Patti Pedden

  • Debra

    Hi Bob,
    Down here in Ohio, we love Cherry Republic products. Any chance you would consider "bringing your show on the road" during the summer to the various festivals in the area OR do I need to move to Michigan to get my Cherry Republic fix?
    Thanks for asking,
    PS - If you can only make 1 stop in OH - please make it Dayton!

  • Dr. Jim Meade

    Here I am again.. The last time I wrote to you I ask for sugar free dried cherries and ????
    For those of us who have to watch our sugar just the cherries alone can boost the level.. I make a GREAT cheesecake that took 3rd place at the 2012 Az. state fair. I user Xylitol made in the good old USA.. If you would like to reach more people you need to expand your line for people who are insulin dependent.. go to Xylitol USA and see what can happen.. Anouther one would be Whey-Low, this is anouther one I use.. I'll be looking for sugar free cherries on the web soon.. Thanks for listening.. Dr Jim

  • http://RestorativeHealthcarePC Heather

    Could you please come up with GLUTEN FREE ITEMS. Was recently diagnosed celiac's and keep getting your products and give them away even though Ive informed peole I am STRICT gluten free. MAy want ot highlight in your catalog what is gluten free as I keep givning away my gifts and it is frustrating as people just dont get it!

  • Kate McGreevey

    I think that you should serve your baked goods and ice cream in the Traverse City Store.

  • Cheryl Hoskin

    I would very much like to have pies in the Ann Arbor store! I had one at the Glen Arbor store and it was wonderful, but I only get up there once a year so it would be nice to have some of those goodies closer to home. Thank you for considering this. Cheryl

  • katherine Woldum

    Hi, Bob,

    I would love for you to have a dedicated bakery for just gluten free items.
    There is a huge demand for this and I have been working with an individual,
    getting him up to speed on what products can be used and can not be used.
    Staff need to be part of it as well.
    Hope you will consider my idea.

  • M. Collett

    I've been in the Ann Arbor store, as it about 30 miles from my home, and we walk by it during U of M football season. I liked the exposed brick wall, but my recollection is that the other walls are pretty bland. Maybe you know an artist who could paint cherry trees or scenes from up North on any bare walls. The retail space isn't large enough to add a lot of "stuff" like a birchbark canoe that holds some products. I've never cared much for the area at the back of the store, but I'm sure it has some function for the staff. Anyway, add more warmth to the back of the store, display body care products and candles attractively, and maybe add some murals. I haven't been in the store in a couple of months, so it's possible my comments don't apply now.

  • Kevin Beard

    Have you looked at a store in East Lansing? There are several perfect loation right on Grand River Ave. in downtown with a walking population and convienient parkink.

  • Ruth

    Open in/near Chicago!

  • Mary

    Focus on what you do well and your passions.
    Don't overextend.

  • Jo Faulmann

    I'm trying to interest some NW Michigan food entrepreneur in opening a retail store in SW Florida, Naples to be exact. I've already talked to GTPie to no avail; now how about Cherry Republic? We're sorely lacking for a business which uses the wonderful produce from NW MI. LOTS of Michiganders winter here. Give it a thought, please!

  • Terri Christiansen

    Please open one in the Chicago would be wildly popular. Naperville is a trendy cool town that would love your store. And might I add, I would be your 1st employee!!! I have written you before about how I am your IL/WI representative, to neighbors, college students co-workers, you name it!!! Every summer and fall I come over and stock up and pass it out, give it away, send as gifts, send as care packages to the college kids, peddle it on every corner (well not really, but I would if I could, ha!!) Please consider before I am too old to work for you anymore...that gives you some time...but seriously, Cherry Republic is just what we need in the Chicago area!!!

  • Bob Acker

    I have a couple of thoughts:
    We love your Glen Arbor store and make our annual pilgrimage there every time we're in the area; lunch caps off (or starts!) our experience. More outdoor seating would be nice, as well as an expanded menu. Sorry, I don't have any specific suggestions on that front!
    Another suggestion has to do with your product line: a few years ago I purchased one of your original T-shirts and accidentally threw it in the wash with a red shirt. The result? It turned a nice, cherry pink, which I thought was appropriate. Perhaps you could offer a pink version of your original design!

  • Michael Falter

    Not a suggestion on the facilities or offering per se, but I would suggest you see if you can remove Red dye 40 for your products. The candies specifically.

  • Donna Schmidt

    You should talk to Dave Hirth (M Den) in Ann Arbor as he frequents your up north area. There are sooo many people down here who know about TC and Cherry Republic. You've probably talked to the people at Zingerman's - they have great ideas and are very innovative. I'd like to some items listed as healthy (bu still fun). I love the popcorn crunches for different seasons/holidays. At Christmas you really need a bigger store. Another vacation area you may like is National Harbor in Maryland not far from DC. It has the only Peeps store and lots of shopping, beach, boats, etc..

  • Jill Stanley

    I would love to see you in Shanghai! My husband is employed in Shanghai. In 2009, he took Cherry Republic goodies back to his secretaries and his boss. Ever since then, he have place orders almost everytime he has been home to surprise someone when he went back! I think Cherry Republic would be well received! Maybe I could get a job working for you there!

  • Kristen

    Hi Bob!!
    I love so manny of your products!! Can't begin to list them all!!

    I love sending them off to clients across the country!! And they are loved by all that get them!!

    I was disappointed when you discontinued the gift jars - they are so nice - and we're my fav items to send - the dark choc covered cherry nut mix & dark choc covered cherries & dried cherries -
    Have you considered bringing them back??? I know it's all about what sells - just my thoughts!!

    Also enjoy your newsy letters & posts!! Thank you for the fun & support you bring to the area!!

    Best Regards!!

  • Milly Hudgins

    Here's hoping for a store in Holland, MI by Christmas!

  • Helga Mortensen

    I would love to see you open a store in southwest Michigan! I am in Kalamazoo, halfway between Detroit and Chicago, and nary a Cherry Republic in sight. Right here in Kalamazoo we have 2 colleges and 1 university, and we're near Grand Rapids. Think about expanding more, please!

  • Pat Conover

    How about coming to Rochester? This location could serve lower Michigan as well as the eastern side of the state. We need a shop with an "up north" feel to it. Our town is friendly and the downtown has just had a total facelift makeover. As much as we love it, we can't always come up north to get our Cherry Republic "fix"!

  • Marie Mercier

    I sure would like to see ice cream in TC!

  • C. Gulock

    I like your future ideas. Here is my feedback. First of all, it would be nice if the main store in downtown Glen Arbor had some link to the main road (22); I drove through Glen Arbor in October looking for the store, and I had trouble finding the it :-) - and I was looking for it. But once I found it, I was impressed.
    At first I thought placing rocks in the forest nearby the HQ was odd, but upon reflection, it might work. One can never go wrong with catapults. I guess one part could be a meditative walk to smell the pines, and another could be more kid friendly. Kids love to sit on old farm tractors newly painted, so that is a suggestion to place a tractor on the grounds near the HQ.
    Regarding the Embassy in Traverse, I like your connection to the rain forest cafe.
    Instead of an alligator, you could have a giant salmon, trout, or bear for kids to throw pennies in the mouth.
    The front of house of the embassy must capture the love of trees (cedars, pine, etc), sand, and water, but also capture the love of farming and farmers. That is the beauty of Leelanau, is that it captures nature and farming (cherries). Many parts of up north don't capture both. A tractor for kids to sit on in the embassy is a good link to farming and fun for kids. Other ideas include real looking cherry trees showing the stages of blossems, how cherries are harvested, etc., and sand dune creation, protection, and evolution. For ex, why are the dunes in that part of the State, etc.

  • Sheryl Charleson

    I just love Cherry Republic - your products are wonderful!! My daughter attends the University of Michigan and your Ann Arbor store was my first introduction to the vast array of cherry items you produce.
    I am from Westchester,N.Y. Any thoughts of opening a store somewhere in the New York City(Manhattan) or Westchester area? There is nothing like that here- I believe it would be very successful!! I potentially would be interested in helping to manage the store for you. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you!

  • Margie

    Instead of family tree climbing, what about family tree camping? (google tree camping for pics).

    For a local project, what about having vignettes about the various people who bring the cherries and other goodies to your shelves? Maybe little videos, or a display board tucked in next to the various products. It'd be like a marriage between your store and the local farming video you had a few years back, only accessible for anyone to see while in your store.

    For community projects, what are the local needs? Then find a way for everyone to be able to participate. For example, are there ongoing projects that visitors/vacationers could sign up for that are short-term (day, half-day) - trail maintenance, visit assisted living centers, etc. as a way to see the invisible side of the county and feel more connected to it?

    Another random thought.... have some sort of running tabulation about Glen Arbor or Northern Michigan. In some kids' museums, they have a clock that shows the world population at any given moment.... maybe have something that shows the salmon population of Lake Michigan, or number of bikes being used in Leelanau county by month. Or, you could have math puzzles to figure out the number of cherries (at x calories each) needed to ride from C.R. to Good Harbor Bay or something like that - sort of a fountain of tidbit knowledge about Glen Arbor....

  • Krisanna Barbernell

    We love the Cherry Republic! I took family pictures there for 12 years! We miss it so much in CA, we're from Fenton and were so happy with the Ann Arbor store being open so we can see a little up north. Definitely easier to get to on a visit home. About Ann Arbor, Any way to put a tree in there? Some signs and a little garden? Also for SURE ice cream-we would get it every night, still great debates on top cherry flavor, Elliot vanilla cherry, Bella bubblegum cherry, Emma chocolate, Isaac cherry (is that cherry-cherry?) Dad coffee cherry and mom the one with fudge, and then on our way out of town load up on products. We sure appreciate all the memories you made one of our favorite places on earth. And for all the delish samples and goodies!
    We miss you and hope for a visit soon.

  • Brenda

    To bring a little up north to the Ann Arbor store, how about a big screen that has a running slide show of scenes from that location? Include park scenes, people on the beach, people in downtown GA, a few shots of the G A Cherry Republic, expanse of beach with NO people, browsing deer, pine forests, the Dune Climb, the bike trail, tennis courts and adjacent play area, and of course boats on the water. I'd come just to watch the pictures since I'm only in GA for 1 week each summer!! (I suppose you should include TC and Charlevoix too, though I'm partial to Glen Arbor.)

  • Jodie Black

    My husband and I have been faithful ambassadors of the Cherry Republic since there was just an open air shop where the great hall is. We faithfully make our pilgrimage to our favorite store annually. We now live in Chesterton, IN which is a small town at the bottom of Lake Michigan. Each summer in our dowtown and lasting until the end of October we have a European Market on Saturdays. It is very successful and vendors come from Michigan ,Indiana and Illinois with baked goods, cheese, wine,produce, crafts,etc. It has become so busy that the regular vendors have guaranteed spots and those with lesser inventory will be in a lottery. It would make a great venue for Cherry Republic. We would be happy to host a search party or give more information.

  • Carl Ballou

    How about a "Cherry Republic" actual working small farm located as close as possible to the Glen Arbor flagship, with goats, cow, chickens, and cherry trees! A summer camp could be incorporated at the farm, (just like so many city kids in the past would stay with grandparents/aunts/uncles on the farm over summer).

    Perhaps Port Onieda has a suitable spot?

  • Tim Crosby

    I'd love to see a web-exclusive reality show about life in the Republic!

  • Dorothy Hoard Doss

    My great grandparents were early settlers in your area and I grew up in Traverse City, enjoying Glen Arbor, Sleeping Bear, Empire, the beaches, and the entire area. I like the warmth and genuine pride you show regarding your products and where you are located. I enjoy visiting your store, reading your catalogues and gifting many friends and relatives with your deliciious offerings. Just don't "get too big for your britches". Stay warm and enjoy your business. You have created a good circle of customers/friends.

  • Beverly Holbrook

    We need a store in Benzie County, possibly Frankfort since they are working on a DDA and plans to expand in their city. You could always have a bakery and the wine bar in Frankfort - many tourist's and will be year round in the future. Chance to get in on the ground floor of progress and growth!

  • Amy Cullen

    How about a " drive in movie theatre"? Behind Cherry Republic....where the car is? You can play a movie on summer nights. Patrons can bring a blanket/chairs. Parents can get a bottle of wine at your winery and you can come up with a fabulous cherry popcorn mix. One savory and one sweet. Concerts would be fun as well.
    Love your store !
    Amy Cullen